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Posts Tagged ‘adolescents’

I learned about a great resource yesterday for those working to improve the lives of women and girls, Girls Discovered: Global Maps of Adolescent Girls. The website has three main sections: Maps and Data, Sunita’s Story, and Take Action. The project is a collaborative effort of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls and Maplecroft.

The Maps and Data section has a nearly endless number of interactive maps and data sets focused on adolescent girls around the world across a number of health, education, social, economic, and population indices. Several of the maps provide interesting information about maternal health or issues impacting maternal health around the world–such as abortion legalizationage specific fertility, global anemia rates, births attended by skilled personnel, and several more.

Sunita’s Story seamlessly combines photos and narrative with maps and data to tell the personal story of one girl in India, Sunita–while also presenting the national burden and geographic distribution of the issues that she faces throughout her life. The presentation is simple and clean, making the information easy to consume.

The Take Action section has three PDF downloadable plans for taking action to address the issues of adolescent girls that are mapped on this site. There is a global action plan, a national action plan for India, and local action plan for India.

I encourage you to explore the site–it is a remarkable resource for those working on any of the various issues impacting adolescent girls and young women around the world.

Description of the project:

“The welfare of adolescent girls is crucial in determining economic and social outcomes for countries today, and in the future. For girls to become healthy mothers, productive citizens and economic contributors, their unique needs must be seen and understood.

Yet today, adolescent girls are undercounted and so underserved. Counting them is the first step to increasing their visibility.

Girls Discovered takes that first step. As a comprehensive source of maps and data on the status of adolescent girls worldwide, Girls Discovered helps donors, policy makers and implementing agencies target their investments.

This one-stop shop for information on adolescent girls is sourced from organizations operating in the public interest, and is meant for researchers, practitioners, advocates, policy-makers and the public – anyone who seeks change for the world’s 600 million adolescent girls.”

Mapping for Maternal Health:

A number of organizations have recently started using mapping technologies to provide visual representation of research and data while others are using mapping tools to link organizations working in maternal health in an effort to build a stronger and more interconnected community of maternal health professionals.

Take a look at a few of the maternal health maps I have visited recently.  Several are interactive and allow for user-generated content!

If you know of other maternal health mapping initiatives, please let me know in the comments section of this post!

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The Latin American Herald Tribune reports on a new study by UNFPA that highlights the incidence of maternal deaths, the frequency of abortion, and the concentration of new HIV cases among the most marginalized sector of the Argentine population. 

The Latin American Herald Tribune

“…The maternal mortality rate remains ‘relatively elevated in relation to the available health services in the country.’

The study, presented at the U.N. Information Center in Buenos Aires, adds that complications from abortion over the past 15 years have remained the main cause of maternal deaths.

But given that induced abortion is illegal in Argentina, ‘its magnitude can only be estimated by indirect means,’ which show that voluntary terminations of pregnancy oscillate between 372,000 and 522,000 per year.

Among the main victims are the teenage members of the population, the fertility rates for whom show ‘many disparities’ when one compares Argentina’s impoverished north with the main urban centers…”

Read the full story, UN Report Highlights Inequality in Argentina.

For additional information on maternal mortality in Argentina, click here

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A recent study by the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) and the Population Council of India outlines just how prevalent early marriage remains in many parts of India.

Bernama.com (Malaysian National News Agency)

This article cites many of the findings of the recent study in India by IIPS and the Population Council. It also raises several of the implications of early marriage in India—including unintended pregnancies and infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.

Read the full story, Child Wedlock Still Haunts India.

For more information on the Population Council’s work in India, click here.

This story, in Times of India, offers more information on the state of reproductive health among youth in India.

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A NOW team from PBS recently went to Haiti to investigate high levels of maternal mortality in the country. They happened to be in the Haiti when the earthquake hit. In collaboration with the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR), a non-profit video news production company, PBS produced Saving Haiti’s Mothers, a show that examines the state of maternal health in Haiti before the earthquake and immediately following it.

NOW on PBS

“Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, in addition to leaving lives and institutions in ruin, also exacerbated a longtime lethal risk in Haiti: Dying during childbirth. Challenges in transportation, education, and quality health care contribute to Haiti having the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, a national crisis even before the earthquake struck. While great strides are being made with global health issues like HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality figures worldwide have seen virtually no improvement in 20 years. Worldwide, over 500,000 women die each year during pregnancy. This week, a NOW team that had been working in Haiti during the earthquake reports on this deadly but correctable trend. They meet members of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF), which operates a network of health agents in more than 100 villages, engaging in pre-natal visits, education, and emergency ambulance runs for pregnant women…”

Read the full story and watch the special here.

Learn more about Haitian Health Foundation, UNFPA, and Family Care International—all organizations featured in the show.

Visit the Bureau for International Reporting (BIR) site here.

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According to UNFPA, Timor-Leste has a maternal mortality ratio of 660 deaths/100,000 live births

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

Women in rural areas have little to no information on reproductive health. Photo by David Swanson/IRIN

“According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), women in Timor-Leste – the world’s newest independent nation and also Asia’s poorest – give birth to an average 6.38 children during their lifetime, one of the highest fertility rates in the world and second only to Afghanistan.  Melinda Mousaco, the country director for Marie Stopes International Timor Leste, told IRIN that awareness of family planning and reproductive health, particularly in rural areas, is ‘next to nothing’.

‘Because of a lack of education, accidental pregnancies happen frequently,’ she said. ‘When we show basic reproductive anatomy or give information about women’s menstrual cycles, people often tell us ‘this is the first time I’ve heard this’.’

Timor-Leste gained formal independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a long separatist struggle and a surge of violence in 1999, and health experts cite conflict and unemployment as key factors in the country’s high population growth…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on UNFPA in Timor-Leste, click here.

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The Reproductive Health Response in Crises Consortium applauds current relief efforts in Haiti while calling on humanitarian actors to provide lifesaving reproductive health services for women displaced by the earthquake.

The RHRC Consortium

The RHRC Consortium calls on humanitarian actors to meet the needs of women and girls—including the 63,000  pregnant women in Port au Prince.  (Other organizations have put the estimate lower at 37,000.) The RHRC estimates that 7,000 will deliver in the coming month.

The statement includes calls to action on issues of safe delivery,  sexual violence and exploitation, HIV/AIDS, and family planning.

Click here to read their full statement.

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Veil of Tears is a collection of transcribed interviews with children, women, and men in Afghanistan about loss in childbirth. These interviews are part of IRIN’s  Kabul-based radio project, which closed at the end of 2009 after six years of humanitarian radio production and journalistic capacity building in Afghanistan.

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

“In Veil of Tears, a 60-page colour booklet launched today, IRIN brings you a unique collection of personal stories of loss and courage in childbirth, as told by women, men and children from different parts of Afghanistan.

The stories were originally recorded in local languages, Dari and Pashto, for IRIN Radio broadcasts. Transcribed into English in Veil of Tears, they convey the immediacy and intimacy of the interviews conducted by IRIN reporters, who travelled in some cases for several days to reach the remotest villages in Afghanistan.

The interviewees in the booklet talk about the struggle to get enough nutritious food to sustain a woman through pregnancy, and to feed their families on any given day; they describe the awesome distances and terrain that separate people living in the villages from the nearest health facility; they describe the lack of proper roads and transport that may leave a donkey cart as the only option to attempt a life-or-death journey with a pregnant wife or mother to a hospital; they explain the cultural and social rules that might mean decisions by men are made too late to save a woman and her baby…”

Read the full story here.

Click here for a PDF of the Veil of Tears.

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Watch and share Pathfinder’s video, Girl2Woman, that outlines the challenges related to sexual and reproductive health that girls face throughout their lives.

Every video shared raises $1 for Pathfinder International programs—-up to $1 million. Visit the Girl2Woman site to see more information about the initiative and an interactive time line that outlines stages of life and highlights the work that Pathfinder International does to help women at each stage. At the Girl2Woman site, you can also fill out a form to share the video with your contacts.

To learn more about Pathfinder International, click here.

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America and CEMOPLAF, an Ecuadorian reproductive health organization, are working together to train Ecuadorian teens to become community health workers in the Chimborazo region of central Ecuador.

Global Health Magazine

“Ecuador has the highest adolescent fertility rate in Latin America, and this skyrockets when we’re talking about rural or indigenous youth. Among community members in the region here, just 6 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported contraceptive use, while less than half of all women reported any knowledge of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

This program meets the needs of a particularly underserved and hard-to-reach group, with a new contraceptive method, in a new way. The peer promoters hail from 15 different small communities within the region and are providing a brand new range of services to their peers. They meet weekly at a central clinic location to discuss challenges and attend trainings. There, CEMOPLAF also provides lunch, transportation costs and job-skills training.

All promoters attend a four-part extensive training, including an introduction to injections in general; training on Depo Provera in particular; and training in bio-safety procedures. They also learn about other contraceptive options, like the pill and condoms…”

Read the full story here.

For more information on Planned Parenthood Federation of America, click here.

To learn more about CEMOPLAF, click here.

Click here to see a previous post on this blog about a policy discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC on health workers and task-shifting.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech comes in time for the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and marks a renewed  support for and dedication to reaching the goals of ICPD and other related UN agreements, including the Millennium Development Goals, by 2015.

ICPD called on governments and development agencies to place human beings—specifically young people and women—at the very heart of the development process. The conference also called for family planning, reproductive health, basic health and education needs to be met.

Millennium Development Goal 5 aims to improve international maternal health by reducing maternal mortality by 2/3 and achieving universal access to reproductive health services by 2015.

“On Jan. 8, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will address hundreds of health and development leaders at the State Department to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to achieving universal access to reproductive health for individual health, family well-being, broader economic development and a healthy planet.”

The speech is scheduled for 2:30 pm Friday, January 8, 2010.

The Secretary’s speech will be livestreamed at www.icpd2015.org.

For more information on the goals of ICPD and events marking the 15th anniversary, click here.

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Too Young , Too Late and Too Far recently premiered in Lagos, Nigeria

The films, produced by Communicating for Change (CFC), were shot in the ‘Nollywood’ style which involves a combination of suspense and drama—but the project team also included health expert script consultants, Dr Boniface Oye Adeniran, Obstetrician/Gynecologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Dr Babatunde Ahonsi, formerly of the Ford Foundation.

“The films: Too Young, Too Far, and Too Late, take a provocative look at the life-threatening conditions that pregnant women face in Nigeria while also revealing their struggles with matters of bias against gender, abortion and childbirth as well as the corresponding challenges faced by husbands, boyfriends and families, who have to deal with their own hopes, frustrations and fears.”

Read the full story about Too Young, Too Far, and Too Late here.

For more information about Communicating for Change, click here.

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The International Women’s Health Coalition lists and describes what they see as the top ten wins for women’s health and rights in 2009–and comment on next steps and challenges for each win.

RH Reality Check

The IWHC’s picks for the top ten women’s health and rights wins span topics ranging from the new Bolivian constitution that guarantees sexual and reproductive rights and the striking down of sex work criminalization in India to a new law that combats child marriage in Yemen and the upholding of the right to abortion in England.

To see the complete list with descriptions of the wins, potential next steps and challenges, click here.

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Appropriations Bill Ends Abstinence-Only Funding, Increases Family Planning

RH Reality Check

“There was a lot of good news packed into the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill which was passed by Congress over the weekend. For the first time ever, the appropriations bill eliminated all funding for abstinence-only sex education programs in favor of evidence-based programs that focused on preventing unintended pregnancy. The bill, which still requires the president’s signature to become law, allocates $114.5 million for teen pregnancy prevention programs, including discussion of both contraceptive use and abstinence.”

See the full article here.

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Recently, I have seen a handful of articles that address MDG5 issues and youth—ranging in topic areas from the tribulations of child-bearing children in Afghanistan and the struggles of young girls forced into early marriage in Yemen (actually from Dec. 5th)  to the role that youth are playing in demanding access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Afghanistan: The Tribulations of Child-bearing Children

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

In this piece, you will meet Rabia, age 14, who was married almost a year ago and is expecting her first child.
Afghan law sets 16 as the minimum age of marriage for girls and 18 for boys, but Rabia is one of  many young girls who are forced to marry at a younger age. Most girls and women in Afghanistan have very limited access to health services and skilled attendance at the time of delivery. Afghanistan  has “among the worst maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. About 25,000 mothers die every year during pregnancy, at child birth or after delivery, according to UNFPA (equivalent to 800 deaths per 100,000 women).”

See the full story here.

Letter From Yemen: Child Brides’ Enduring Plight

Washington Post

In this article, you will meet Ayesha, a 13-year-old  girl who was married against her will to a 53-year old man. “Yemen has no minimum age for marriage, and girls as young as 8 are often forced to wed. Many become mothers soon after they reach puberty. The country has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. The death of a 12-year-old in childbirth this fall highlighted the health risks.”

See the full story here.

Young People Speak Up for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Worldwide, But U.S. Policy Lags

RH Reality Check

And finally, this piece from RH Reality Check outlines the role that youth are playing in advocating for increased access to information and care. “Importantly, adolescents recognize their need for better information and want it to come from reliable sources they trust. In Uganda—one of the study’s focus countries—about half of all young people said, unprompted, that they would like to get information about contraceptive methods, HIV and other STIs from teachers, health care providers or the mass media, whereas just one-third would prefer to receive information from family and one-fifth from friends.”

This article also “takes stock” of the accomplishments/shortcomings of the reproductive health agenda in the past 15 years since the United Nation’s International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and outlines various reproductive health issues that youth continue to face around the world, highlighting the global distribution of such issues.

Read the full article here.

Adolescent Maternal Mortality: An Overlooked Crisis

Advocates for Youth

For more information on adolescent maternal mortality, check out Adolescent Maternal Mortality: An Overlooked Crisis, a publication from Advocates for Youth.

Readers, have you seen any recent articles/blogs that discuss MDG5 issues and youth? Either the burden of maternal morbidity and mortality among youth—or stories of youth standing up for their rights to reproductive health services? Please share in the comments section.

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